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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Commodore Creates C64 for the 21st Century

If you grew up in a certain era, it’s likely that the first computer you ever had was a Commodore 64.
Sure, you probably played games like Impossible Mission and Boulder Dash, but the real magic was the built-in BASIC language. You might have typed in a program like this:

10 PRINT "WALYOU RULES!"
20 GOTO 10

This would print “WALYOU RULES!” over and over again until you hit the break key.
Commodore USA has acquired the rights to the original machines, including the Commodore 64.

The new commodore 64

This new version features the familiar brown-and-beige design of the original, but with 21st Century features. The machine is powered by a dual core Intel Atom processor. The keyboard features Cherry brand key switches, which give it a feel similar to those old IBM keyboards that real geeks swear by. In place of the traditional “Windows” key, there’s the famous Commodore “chicken head” logo. The new C64 doesn’t run Windows but a custom Linux distro, Commodore OS, instead. (It is possible, however, to dual-boot with Windows.) You can either boot into Commodore OS or directly into a classic Commodore 64 emulator to play your old favorites.

The C64 ports
There will also be a media center application that will allow you to download classic C64 games. Commodore also plans to ship each system with a variety of open source software, including 3D games. They also promise to install a Microsoft Office-compatible suite. (This will likely be OpenOffice.org or its offshoot, LibreOffice.)
The machine comes with 2 gigs of RAM, expandable to 4 gigs.
The C64 Optical Drive
Instead of that bulky old 1541 5.25″ disk drive, there’s a DVD/RW drive built into the side of the machine, with Blu-ray as an optional extra. There are the standard ports, including USB and Ethernet, card reader slots,  and even an HDMI port so you can hook it up to your HDTV. Add the Blu-ray and you’ve got yourself a nice living room computer.

I’m really looking forward to getting my hands on this machine, both as a fan of Commodore and a fan of Linux and open source in general.

If you’re a Commodore fan, you’ll probably like the Commodore 64 Laptop and the C64 8-bit keytar mod.
Via: Commodore USA

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